Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/85

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The Crisis of the Confederacy. 81

Potomac, these facts will often be found confessed on the record. On the other hand, it was, of course, the cue of the Confederate army to make the best possible showing of strength by figures, and if you believed the accounts of Confederate prisoners, you would have come to the conclusion that the South had a population to recruit from as large as that of China.

Capt. Battine is a cavalry officer, and thinks that mounted charges shock-tactics, such as Cromwell made use of with splendid re- sults, when fire-arms were comparatively harmless should have been practiced on a large scale on many occasions against discomfit- ed infantry, thus effecting a complete rout. The war was fought on both sides, as far as infantry was concerned, with the muzzle- loader rifle musket and minie ball, which the author thinks had an accurate range of only one hundred yards, and was not effective at over four hundred yards, but, as a matter of fact, the range was nearly four times as great, the accuracy satisfactory, where the weapon was decently clean, and the killing power infinitely more fearful than that of modern rifles, because of the size and shape of the bullet. Moreover the rough nature of the ground where fight- ing took place invariably forbade mounted charges in mass, and rifle fire in the open would usually render them impossible, or suicidal. All that could be accomplished by shock-tactics was effected against cavalry and small bodies of infantry, but the magnificent fighting qualities of the cavalry (developed by Hampton, and Forrest, and not by Stuart, as the author supposes), were displayed as dismount- ed riflemen, where they equalled infantry in deadly work and stay- ing-power and were enabled to excel them in mobility and dash by means of their horses.

Gettysburg, the author considers the turning point of the war, and that if Lee had there completely defeated Meade it would have ended the contest victoriously for the South. His account of the battle is good though he errs in numbers but the main causes to which is attributed the failure to rout the Federal army are not given sufficient prominence. That the three days' fighting was more like three separate battle than one is quite true, as Captain Battine says, and also that there were mistakes made by Confed- erate corps commanders, and lack of needed support to attack de- livered, but Lee was not in fault. He necessarily depended upon the cavalry for keeping him thoroughly informed of the position of the enemy, and this duty he had entrusted to Stuart, who disappeared